Is Your Ipad Causing Shoulder Pain?
We are always made to think that technology exists to make our lives easier, and so it does in most cases. However, what is often not pointed out are the problems that it can cause to our health. It is well-known that computers and games machines have helped increase obesity in children as they spend more time sitting down than exercising these days. Recent research though has shown the iPad causing shoulder pain. This is because many people who use the device are in a sitting position with the tablet placed on their lap, which is not an ideal posture.
The shoulder muscles are continuous with the neck, therefore, poor neck posture from bending your head down can cause strain of the neck as well as shoulder muscles. The longer you use an iPad, the more strain your eyes experience, your body will automatically compensate by either one or both of 2 solutions.
1) Bringing your head forward to see better, which leads to a forward head posture. This places an enormous strain on the neck and shoulder muscles and may lead to your ipad causing shoulder pain as the weight of the head becomes more difficult for the shoulder muscles to support. Just like holding a weight closer to your body makes it easier to carry, keeping your head closer to the shoulders causes the shoulder muscles less strain, which means less pain.
2) Bringing the iPad closer to you to see better. This relates directly to the shoulder muscles as a normal reaction to lifting is to use the shoulder muscles, which can tense the trapezius and levator scapula muscles, both of which can cause shoulder as well as neck pain. The strain from these muscles can also lead to headaches.
Ways To Help
Constantly sitting or standing with your head pointing downward for long periods of time forces your upper spine to bend in a way it is not comfortable with. This results in additional strain being put on muscles and ligaments, and long-term stretching of the latter can cause permanent damage. When these body structures are out or position, it can result in shoulder pain, just as the use of phones cause neck symptoms called text neck.
So is it possible to prevent iPad causing shoulder pain? The simple answer is yes, and the advice for how to do this is listed below:
- Do not use the iPad on your lap for long periods of time.
- Take a break every 10 to 15 minutes by doing something else.
- Place the device up in front of you when using it for as long as possible.
- Purchase a stand to put it on so that it is raised off your lap and at a better angle.
- Keep moving around when seated, and try and keep your neck straight.
- Use it on a table at an angle if possible.
Research has shown that the best one of those is to take a break and do something else. If you start suffering shoulder pain, then you really have no choice. One of the best things you can do is perform a simple neck exercise, which you can even do while using your iPad. That’ right, you don’t have to stop! Just perform this simple neck exercise to bring your head over your shoulders, aligning the neck with the shoulders, and the bring the back of your head up slightly. This is very beneficial and you may actually experience some immediate relief from your shoulder pain. Alternatively, you can do an exercise to lengthen the neck, and this can also be done while sitting.
A 2019 study in the journal Work showed pain and muscle activity of neck, shoulder, upper back, and forearm with use by children. The authors recommend use on a table with a case set instead of on the lap to prevent musculoskeletal disorders.